Cold bodies and warm hearts helped raise thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Wisconsin on Saturday.
Dozens jumped into an outdoor pool for the annual Polar Plunge at the Brat Stop. The temperature Saturday: a crisp 34 degrees.
“It’s a great event,” said organizer and Kenosha Police officer Kate Schaper. “All the money stays locally in our area.”
Schaper and members of the police department’s Frozen Five-O Polar Plunge team raised more than $3,300 for local athletes.
Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis raised $1,000.
Schaper, who’s been with the department for 12 years, said she appreciates her colleagues’ commitment.
“It’s fun because it’s a friendship between all of us. We all help each other out with other events that officers do,” said Schaper, who will join an elite group of individuals serving as “Guardians of the Flame” before competition begins at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle this summer.
By Saturday, the event had raised more than $26,000, and donations can be made through March. The funds help more than 1,500 local athletes compete.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department team, the Kenosha County Copsicles, raised more than $1,500.
“It was cold!” said Deputy Lars Roalkvan, who performed a handstand in the water.
Roalkvan said he planned to spend the rest of the day hanging out with friends and enjoying a well-deserved beer.
Bear Realty’s Grin and Bear It team raised nearly $2,500. The team included some first-time jumpers.
“This is my first-ever Polar Plunge,” said Sherry Sandnes. “I was really nervous. I was scared. ... It was cold but fun. So much fun!”
Andy Stauss, a member of Team Sawyer, participated in the event for the eighth year. Team Sawyer is named after team captain Mike Baumeister’s son, a Special Olympics athlete.
“It’s for a good cause,” Strauss said. “Everybody gets together. It’s all fun!”